EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS WEEK: Tips to Protect Your Pets
May 1 through May 7 is Emergency Preparedness Week. It is the responsibility of pet guardians to care for their pets during localized or wide-scale disasters which can be difficult even for seasoned pet guardians. The Etobicoke Humane Society wants to ensure that you include your pets in your emergency plans and offers the following suggestions:
Spay or neuter your pets to reduce excess stress which can be dangerous to you and your pets in an emergency.
Get your pets microchipped for lasting identification. Visible ID is also a good idea, but it could slide off or get pets entangled.
Strive to socialize your pets and expose them to various environments, circumstances, people and other pets.
If you have a dog, arrange obedience classes. This strengthens your role as leader, an important function in helping your pets stay calm.
If your spayed or neutered pets suffer from specific fear-based or separation anxiety behaviour, consult with your veterinarian and a qualified trainer about ways to reduce these behaviours. They can be dangerous to you and your pets in an emergency.
Train your pets to accept carriers, collapsible crates or other portable enclosures. This will enable you to quickly get your pets to safety and help reduce injury.
Have current, clear photos of each of your pets.
If your cat wears a collar, make sure it is a “break-a-way” collar to minimize the chance of your feline becoming entangled during an emergency.
Have pet photos and records in order and easily accessible. Make copies and give one to a neighbour, relative and emergency contact.
Prepare a pet ID/emergency record and attach recent pet photos. Be sure to have a record and photo for each pet, including small caged pets.
Pet ID records should include:
· Guardian’s information: first and last name, address, phone/ cell phone numbers and email address.
· Pet’s first and last name.
· Detailed pet description including: pet’s breed and age; unique physical traits or identifying marks; behavioural issues; medical conditions; prescription names and dosages; microchip number; tattoo location and number; license/registration number.
· Vet’s information: name, telephone number, street address, email address and directions.
· Emergency vet’s information: clinic’s phone number, address and directions.
· Name, phone number, address and email address of emergency contact, neighbour and out-of-the-region emergency contact.
· Trainer’s information: name, phone number and email address.
· Phone number for 24-hour poison control centre.
Prepare pet first aid kits and emergency grab bags for each of your pets. For detailed guidelines, visit: www.pawfriendly.com/community/pet-first-aid-kits ; also consult with your veterinarian on building a pet first aid kit.
Your grab bags should include: pet ID record, pet first aid kit and all related supplies. Keep all of these items in a waterproof container.
In an easy to access location, store your grab bag, carriers and/or collapsible crate with your own personal emergency kit.
At the first official warning to leave your home, immediately leash or crate your pet, get your grab bag and leave your home right away.
Increase the chance of being reunited with your missing pet
· If your pet is licensed/registered with your local municipality, keep your pet’s information current.
· Any time you change your phone number, residence or emergency contact number, immediately inform the administrator of your permanent and temporary pet identification. This helps shelters and rescue groups locate you.
· Update your emergency pet ID record each time any related informational changes occur as well as when a pet: undergoes surgery, develops a new illness or physical injury or other change in appearance – such as weight gain or loss, significant change in grooming patterns, etc. In addition, update your pet’s photo with any noticeable change in appearance. This information is very important in the event you need to create a missing-pet poster.
Note: The University of Guelph, the OSPCA, CFHS and PetFriendly contributed to the information noted above.